Cliff Brangwynne
Associate Professor

Areas of Research: Bioengineering, Transport Phenomena, and Materials Synthesis, Processing, Structure and Properties
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
Research Lab
301 Hoyt Laboratory

Faculty Assistant:
Mary Beth Friedfeld

Research Focus

Welcome to the Brangwynne lab at Princeton University. We are an interdisciplinary team of engineers, biologists, and physicists using principles of soft matter physics to understand the structure and self-assembly of living biological materials, including the cytoskeleton, organelles, cells, and tissues.

Our work has revealed that intracellular organelles, known as ribonucleoprotein (RNP) bodies or granules, behave as liquid phase droplets of RNA and protein, which assemble by a type of intracellular phase transition. Phase transitions within living cells appear to represent a fundamental mechanism for organizing the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm (see figure below, from our 2012 Cell review; see also the article on Princeton's Bioengineering website). We study the assembly, properties, and function of these liquid states of biological matter, and the way in which they are coupled to cell size and growth control. Our work combines the tools and techniques of engineering and soft condensed matter physics with cutting edge cell and molecular biology methods.